Today, I built Felicity’s new bed.
Using the verb “build” to refer to the assembling of flat-pack furniture does feel slightly disingenuous, but at the same time, I did use my multi-headed, magnetic screwdriver and several of my ball-headed allen keys, and I did swear quite a lot, and I did bang my shins several times while brute forcing the thing together, so I feel that this was somehow masculine enough to count as building work. A few more days of this and I can pack in my desk job and start carrying hods of bricks on building sites. (Is that even something that happens any more?)
We got this bed, as with all our baby furniture to date, secondhand. So far this has worked out pretty well – the depreciation on all things baby-related in Singapore is utterly scandalous, but then so are the prices if you buy new. Felicity’s not of an age where we believe she’s going to appreciate whether we bought her a gold-plated cot or not, and the less we spend, the more we have to buy fluffy pink octopuses with.
However, the money you save on the bed may be outweighed by the medical fees if the damn thing collapses on your progeny. When I came to put the bed together, I discovered that it was missing at least two screws. These are to secure one of the sides of the cot, to prevent premature baby egress. However, since the sides of the cot are so very high that the only way for us to put Felicity into it would be to drop her at least twelve inches, we’ve ended up only putting on one side to the bed, which means the missing screws are thankfully superfluous.
The person who sold us the bed lived in a condominium full of grumpy and unhelpful people. I drew this conclusion while trying to manhandle the whole bed (when wholly disassembled) out into the car park on a hot and sultry Saturday just before Christmas. Nobody helped me with any of the doors I had to get the thing through, but conversely, when I held a door open for somebody else he didn’t even acknowledge my existence, as though I was just one of those inanimate objects that goes around propping open doors for rich people with golf clubs.
The person who sold us the bed also didn’t bother to clean it at all; the whole thing was smeared with dust, and the residue of sticky tape from something or other. Fortunately, they made up for this by providing a free bumper for the cot. (A bumper, as I didn’t know until five hours ago, is a long cushion that you can tie around the bars of the cot to stop your precious battering her head against them, and thus reducing the resale value. Of the cot.) It was very nice to give us a free bumper, but again, it would have been nicer if they had given us one that wasn’t stained, or that actually fit the cot, rather than being a cunning trap for our child to choke herself on.
So much for second-hand bargains. It is at least a sturdy piece of Portuguese-manufactured sleeping equipment, and it fits perfectly alongside the bed, so the only place our daughter can roll is onto our bed, rather than onto the caltrops, swarf and mousetraps that I’ve scattered all over the floor. (I’m trying to persuade my wife to wear her slippers in the house, and that seems the simplest way to do it.)
Felicity was very happy, and seemed immediately to know that it was her very own: we placed her on the bed and she waggled her arms and legs, making approving noises and grinning madly. Actually putting her down to bed was much more difficult, as we’re not used to leaning over to get her down from our loving/frazzled embrace. Still, as she was getting to be as long as the bassinet that she was previously inhabiting, it’s good that she’s got this extra space to grow into.
This was also the second day that she ate real food: this time pumpkin (organic, Japanese pumpkin, no less). I got to feed her some of it, and after dread tales of children projectile vomitting everywhere, we were again pleasantly surprised by her cooperation. We’re still wondering what act of defiance she’s saving up for, and when she’ll implement it. I just have to keep reciting the magical phrase “whatever you do to my daughter, I’m going to do to you.”